Last night the wonderful folks at Tuning Fork in Studio City had a beer pairing dinner with Golden Road brews. I was (yet again) lucky enough to be able to help design the pairings and host the event.
Five dishes and five brews. I had to mentally prepare my stomach, and I had boxes ready to pack whatever I couldn’t finish to take home.
“It’s a Great Time to Be Alive!” – the official title of the evening. And it is. It really is.
Tuning Fork is a newer restaurant located on Ventura Place with a rustic wood bar and family-style picnic tables. Owners Joseph and Martin man the helm, while Chef Jay works his brilliance in the kitchen. The staff is possibly the friendliest I’ve come across in a long time, and all the customers are instantly welcomed as close friends.
Six beers on tap and almost 40 bottled beers! The selection there is mind-boggling.
The tables were set, carafes were filled with water, empty dump buckets prepared…
Golden Road flannel was repped. We were set.
We started off the evening with a full pour of Cabrillo Kölsch to welcome everyone in.
It was a full house. They ended up having to close the restaurant completely to accommodate everyone who was calling for seats!
I stuck with small pours and even smaller sips since I was being all responsible and stuff. The first pairing was the Cabrillo Kölsch with applewood smoked bacon mac ‘n cheese pops.
Mac ‘n cheese deep fried. Anything deep fried is a win, but these were beyond delicious. Sturdy yet full of creamy cheese and tender pieces of smoky bacon, wrapped in a crust of fried perfection. The clean finish and high carbonation of the Kölsch whisked away the richness as soon as the beer touched the tongue.
The second course was spicy Veracruz seafood ceviche with Hefeweizen. The sweet citrus in the beer marries perfectly with the acidity of the lemon and lime juice used in the ceviche without overwhelming the delicate fish. The final bite of brutal spice was calmed by the smooth wheat in the brew.
IPA braised short ribs on quinoa cake and swiss chard paired with Point the Way IPA. Rich and fall-apart tender short ribs covered in thick gravy are balanced with a gently hoppy IPA that slice through that richness while subtle notes of caramel match with the caramelized meat. And quinoa and swiss chard makes it healthy. That’s how this works.
Chef Jay brought out a palate cleanser immediately after – tangy sweet sorbet to scrub away any lingering hop bitterness or fattiness from the rich cuts of meat.
Jerk spice mole chicken with coconut rice and plantains paired with Wolf Among Weeds IPA. Tropical notes of pineapple in the beer tie in perfectly with the Caribbean-style dish, while rich mole sauce satisfies all the senses. I only had a few bites of this dish and packed it up with the intention of having it for breakfast this morning. Which I did. It has banana, therefore it is breakfast.
The finale of the evening was a traditional English trifle with layers of fresh berries, vanilla custard and sweet crumbly goodness, paired with It’s Not Always Sunny In LA black IPA. Intense bitterness with hints of roast tames the sweetness of the trifle and makes each spoonful even more decadent, yet less filling at the same time. I put this picture up and immediately went to the fridge to finish off the leftovers from last night. Consuming it now – true story.
Rob from Golden Road explained the background of the beers, Chef Jay introduced the dishes and I explained the purpose of why we’d paired which beer with which dish. Education was studded throughout giveaways by the two owners, Joseph and Martin, and the crowds were rowdy and happy.
I have to say, this was the most successful pairing dinner I’ve had to date! I can’t wait for the next one!
I finally got a chance to check out the actual BREWERY instead of just the pub!
Of course, beforehand I had to fuel up in said pub. I can’t go on a brewery tour without fuel. I’m not completely insane.
There was a big group of us and they assigned ordering to me. I closed my eyes and pointed. Roasted potatoes with soy chorizo and vegan ricotta. Surprisingly pleasant, even for someone who lives for bacon!
Vegan wild mushroom fritters with vegan pimento – for someone who hates mushrooms and loves pig, also surprisingly pleasant. One might even say delicious!
Pretzel with non-vegan cheese. Two vegan options are more than enough in my opinion, no offense to all my vegan/vegetarian readers out there!
We topped it off with the charcuterie plate full of cheese, grapes, spicy peanuts and cured meats. Okey, fueled up. Tour time.
We made our way through Chloe’s – the exclusive club for all those who love beer.
As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten my lens repaired/been able to remove the lens yet…
We made our way into the gigantic offices/cold room. Don’t worry, these are separated. They don’t actually cryogenically freeze the employees. Yet.
This be a pretty big walk-in. I be pretty jealous. I become pretty chilled…
That ought to satisfy the LA consumers for a few days…
Once we got back into the warmth, we were greeted with all these empty cans, waiting to be filled with Wolf Among Weeds.
And finally, into the brewery!
They had to remove the roof of this building in order to lower these fermentors in by crane.
They’re kinda big…
And finally, a glance at the 50bbl brew system. Fifty. Barrel. Brew. System.
They run their wort through the hop dosing system before sending it to the boil kettle.
Instead of filtration, they have a separation tank. This spins the chilled wort around and all of the solids are brought to the center and removed – basically a second whirlpool tank, but faster and cooler looking.
The canning machine! We didn’t get to see this in action, but that makes for easier pictures anyway. These are spun around, sanitized, purged with CO2, filled and capped/clamped.
The quality assurance room/lab. If anyone for some reason calls in about their beer having an issue, the Golden Road team is able to come in here and taste that exact same batch to see if it’s a problem based on brewing or by handling. I think I’d be good at this part of the job.
I’m checking out how good I am at quality assurance right now.
In other news – I took my camera in to the repair shop and after a lot of hammering from the backroom and me cringing as I listened to each bone-shattering crack, the shattered cover was removed and my camera is at the ready to take some more awesome pictures!
Last night was a night filled with lots of beery happenings. I was invited to be a member of Golden Road’s new pub, Chloe’s, and greedily accepted the opportunity to get a sneak peak. Brace yourselves – I didn’t take pictures. I actually just went there, hung out with awesome craft beer geeks and spent all my focus on enjoying myself and talking with incredible people. Don’t fret, though. I’ll be going back very soon and doing a full write-up.
I forced an EBC rep to join me, drove through the madness of LA traffic and ended up being over half an hour early. Not wanting to appear too eager, we realized that Eagle Rock Brewery was only 5 kilometers from Golden Road. YES.
Owners Ting and Jeremy were busy labeling bottles and stacking boxes full of precious soon-to-be-filled-with-liquid-gold glass, so we grabbed beers and stood gazing in rapture at the shiny tanks.
I peeled my eyes from the brewery to take a quick glance at the warm and cozy tasting room. Again – a full write up on this will be coming soon!
Ultimately my eyes were magnetized back to the brewery. I enjoyed a Tarte Noir as we killed time before the event.
Event happened. It was awesome. Imagine hundreds of craft beer geeks in a cozy little pub where free beer samples and appetizers are passed around. Barrel-aged porter and Berlinerweisse with simple syrup made an appearance, but not for very long. I spent the majority of the evening with blonde half of the Beer Chicks (Hallie Beaune), the “Guild Goddess” Acacia Coast of the Brewer’s Association, the lovely Cyrena Nouzille of Ladyface Alehouse as well as the team from Eagle Rock Brewery, Kip Barnes and John Rockwell from LA Aleworks, blogger Jeff Prosser of Beer Guy LA, Hal Mooney of LA Beer Hop beer tours and dozens of other wonderful folks. Staring over the balcony and recognizing or knowing almost every person there from a blog, brewery or previous beer events was mind-boggling. Epic evening.
After said awesome event I dragged Commander Matt over to Glendale Tap to sample their wares.
I was lucky enough to find this place before it’s official opening when I was doing a beer order. I’ve been dying to go back since. Glendale Tap is a craft beer bar with over fifty taps, founded by Steve Skorupa who also owns Timmy Nolan’s Tavern in Toluca Lake. He returned from the same party at Chloe’s right as we arrived.
The place is covered with vintage – vintage register, vintage beer signs and vintage beer cans.
They had quite a menu.
Quite a selection…. Yep, it keeps going…
There’s one more page after that, but I’ll save the surprise for when you get the chance to go.
I went for the Cismontane Session Saison and a healthy helping of peanuts. Matt got the Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale.
Free billiards! I will most definitely put those to use next time.
We grabbed a handful of peanuts to tide us over before we hit the Taco Bell drive-thru and headed home. Keeping it classy.
Oh yeah, then this happened. Firestone XVI Anniversary!!! If it’s even a quarter of how delicious the Firestone XV was, I’ll be a happy girl.
Not a bad way to end the week!
Beautiful day to be alive, isn’t it? Today, I met up with my best friend from way back in middle school at Golden Road Brewing.
Adore this girl. You may remember her from my visit to Craft & Commerce in Little Italy back in May.
Oh, how I’ve missed my fellow TAG (Talented and Gifted – yes, we were nerds back then… still are…) friend!
They don’t have any taster flights yet, so I got a sip of all the house beers on tap and then settled for the low ABV Hefeweizen. Delicious and perfect for a 70 degree day in Los Angeles.
We decided to split a whole mess of deliciousness. This was the Rosemary Turkey Club – peppered bacon, white cheddar cheese and beer-braised turkey with parsley aioli. This was demolished.
I had to order the Coconut “Noodle” Salad again. This is so flavorful and full of happiness and health. This negates every calorie I absorbed today. Cuz there are vegetables in it. And it’s vegan. End of story.
These deep-fried wild mushroom risotto fritters were totally cancelled out by that salad above! I had the maple fritters the first time, which were delicious, but these knocked those babies out of the ballpark! Full of earthy mushroom flavor and topped with vegan pimento cheese, fried to a fluffy crisp. I can honestly say that I had NO IDEA that the dip was vegan! I may have scraped the remains out with a spoon. And by may, I mean I did.
Deep-fried deliciousness. My fingers were smothered in that “cheese” sauce.
The orzo pasta – also vegan and delicious! The perfectly tender roasted veggies and orzo pasta are lightly tossed in a fresh olive oil and balsamic dressing. I tend to avoid vegan foods in rebellion of my bro and his wife being vegan (I’m ridiculous and crave excessive amounts of pulled pork when we go to visit them in Colorado), but Golden Road has completely changed my perspective!
My gorgeous cousin, Allie, stopped by after her nursing class! They weren’t perturbed by me taking mass amounts of pictures at all… Two of my favorite girls in the entire world. Insert smiley face here.
(This picture is so awesome it needed to be used twice)
Kim ordered a gigantic soft pretzel (they were out of the “small” pretzels) that included more of that delicious vegan pimento cheese and the HOTTEST horseradish mustard I have ever tasted. Kim took a bite and turned bright red with watery eyes to match. Please use with caution.
Delicious pretzel face – a little over the top with salt, but once you scrape that off, it’s perfectly soft and surprisingly flavorful.
This was recommended to me by Michelle, who stopped into Enegren Brewing’s tasting room a few months ago. Thank God for Twitter, eh? BLATANT ADVERTISEMENT TO FOLLOW – MY TWITTER, UNTAPPD and FACEBOOK PAGE! My apologies.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Croissant bread pudding covered with brown sugar, salted caramel (an actual OMG moment – and I HATE it when people say OMG) and fresh whipped cream. Michelle – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for encouraging me to order this! We ordered a second one after we’d finished licking the plate. I’ve said this a few times, but this is the most up-to-date BEST BREAD PUDDING I’VE HAD! I’m willing to try more to make sure that this claim is true…
And that was my Tuesday! The brewery visit was necessary in order to recover from last night – working an event for Enegren down in Oxnard for The Kitchen which was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives! What an amazing party!
I wore my brewniform…
…served tons of beer samples to the gigantic crowd…
…and have a huge list of people who now want to come visit the brewery! If you’re up for it, tasting hours are listed here!
And here’s a random picture of my early morning hike. Just because. Happy Tuesday!
Ever feel like the week is just way too long and you need to get out in the middle of the day on Friday and go visit a brewery? Yeah, me too.
I’ve been reading about Golden Road Brewing for about a month now and was dying to get in there and try some of their brews and foods before their grand opening on Sunday. Yesterday the family and I, pooch included, drove out to LA to give it a taste.
The inside of the yellow building (the pub) is cavernous and bright with a beautifully long bar draping across the end.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside – around 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so we decided to enjoy the patio. They have a specified dog patio below this one with umbrellas where you can hydrate your pup and enjoy your meal.
Clean dog beds and fresh water!
It’s great to have a place that’s dog-friendly! We’ve been quite limited in our outings thanks to this fuzzy one.
Behind the bar is a large chalkboard with the entire menu written across. Since they’ve only got three of their beers on tap they weren’t giving out tasting flights. We had to order full pints. Bummer.
We ordered almost across the board – Golden Road Point the Way IPA, Hangar 24 Chocolate Porter and Golden Road Hefeweizen. Their IPA is crystal clear and delicately hoppy – a nice change from the intense hopbombs that are gracing so many breweries nowadays, with a crisp finish. The hefeweizen is a beautiful cloudy gold with notes of banana wafting off the rich head, and a citrusy smooth sip with a sweet finish – PERFECT for the beautiful weather!
They have a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, along with plenty of options for the carnivores out there as well. There were so many options that we couldn’t decide between them. So we got them all.
Maple Fritters – deep fried sweet potato dumplings with a honey mustard dip. These were surprisingly light and crispy, and piping hot to boot. DROOL.
Puffy, golden (I get the theme here, Golden Road!), flaky dumplings of heaven!
We started with a non-vegan dish – the Sloppy Joseph: Short ribs braised in stout and topped with fried shallots and housemade barbecue sauce. I may or may not have licked the plate clean…
Miso Crabby Salad – fresh and light with fresh crab and sliced peppers gracing the top.
For the vegans out there – Coconut “Noodle” Salad: Tender strips of coconut, sliced jalapenos, carrot, chili peppers and cabbage tossed in a light curried sauce with toasted cashews. This burned so good! I wish they’d still had their Festivus Cinnamon Bitter beer on tap to pair! I guess I’ll just have to come back next time they brew it. Bummer again.
Back to the meat! Pulled Pork Sandwich: tender pulled pork that’s been braised in their hef and shredded cabbage on a flaky croissant. I’m stating this here and now – best pulled pork sammich I’ve had to date.
Guess who happened to show up while we were feasting? Cyrena Nouzille and Dave Griffiths of Ladyface Ale! Skipp Shelly, the marketing manager of Golden Road Brewing and a fellow Maltose Falcon from the shop brew also happened to be there – weird coincidence seeing that he works there.
The brewery is right next to the train tracks. I almost had a heart attack when the first one came from behind the building and blasted its horn! I needed to get another beer to calm my nerves.
We enjoyed a good two and a half hours there until the sun went down and the air dropped to a chilly 75 degrees. Delicious beer, amazing food and a wonderful way to end (or begin) the week!
Golden Road Brewing
5430 West San Fernando Road
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Open daily 11am-11pm